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PAHO Recognizes Important US Contribution of Antivirals for Latin America and Caribbean

Washington, DC, July 3, 2009 (PAHO)—The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) recognizes the important contribution from the US Government of 420,000 treatments of Tamiflu antiviral medications in support of fellow Member States in Latin America and the Caribbean in addressing the public health challenges that Influenza A (H1N1) continues to present in the Region.


Photo Harold Ruiz (PAHO/WHO)

The U.S. donation was announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a high-level meeting in Cancun, Mexico, with President Felipe Calderon, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, and PAHO Director Mirta Roses joining health ministers from throughout the Americas to discuss strategies to combat influenza.

In addition to the preventative strategies that the Organization is actively promoting to minimize the spread, PAHO/WHO is providing support to countries in promoting access and appropriate use of antivirals that have shown efficacy in reducing the impact of Influenza A (H1N1).


PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses (left) and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
As part of the region-wide response to the outbreak, more than 350,000 treatments of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) have been distributed to 40 Member States and Dependent Territories from the Regional Stockpile in Panama and 270,000 treatments were distributed from the WHO Global Stockpile.

In partnership with the US Administration, PAHO can now increase regional antiviral stockpiles, and provide specific support to countries such as Chile and Argentina in addressing the challenges that the outbreak of influenza is presenting. The U.S. has provided financial and technical support to PAHO through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other resources in preparing for and combating the influenza pandemic.

PAHO/WHO is also supporting countries in obtaining other immediate needs such as laboratory diagnostic kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will complement those critical supplies already prepositioned in Member States as part of the preparedness plans developed in the last 4 years.

According to the latest PAHO figures, 65,256 confirmed cases of the pandemic H1N1 2009, including 365 deaths, have been notified in 29 countries of the Americas.

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